Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Coming Clean Again

I got out the jelly jars but not for what you may be thinking. This time of year I am usually canning fig jam but since there are no figs, I am using them for a whole new purpose.

I'm making soap in them. I'm cutting up cubes of melt and pour soap base....

....and stuffing the cubes in the jars to put in the slow cooker to melt. I read somewhere that this was a good way to do it. Trust me. It's not.

The oatmeal base soap melted perfectly....

...but the goat's milk base only turned to clotted cream. A 10 second ride in the microwave fixed it right up. I should have just done that in the first place.

After melting, some of them got a dose of tea tree oil. I was too cautious. Now that they are done I realized I should have used more. Next time. I have plenty of base left.

 After pouring the concoction into the molds you have to spritz them with alcohol to get a smooth finish on the top.

They have to sit a long while to get hard again.

After making a big mess in the kitchen, for once, clean up was a breeze.

The next morning I had five lovely little bars.

I played with a few of them with my fancy cutter.

To prevent them from taking on moisture from the air, you have to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap for storage. Now I am going to have look into some way of shrink wrapping and labeling because this is plain ugly. One thing always leads to another, doesn't it?

Monday, September 1, 2014

New Stuff

I ordered some more 8/2 cotton because the stash is empty and I didn't have a weft. That's weaving speak for the stuff that goes back and forth. I ran out of white and what I thought was the red.

This is what I get for being too lazy to get up and go get what I had left to compare colors before I ordered. I guessed and I guessed wrong.

No matter. I still have a whole mini cone of green so I'm thinking some holiday towels will be in the near future.

 In the same package from Cotton Clouds, I also got a surprise. The next installment of the dishtowel of the month kit.

 It's a crazy colored waffle weave. I can't wait. I've always wanted to learn to waffle.

 I also treated myself to this reference book from Interweave. I have been meaning to buy it ever since I got the loom but I didn't think I was quite ready to go off on my own yet. My recent warping success has given me hope.

If I can build up a decent stash of cotton, I'd be in business designing my own towels. I think I know what I'm asking Santa for this year. Ho, ho, ho, kids....

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Post TdF Finish

 That crazy spindle project I had left over from the Tour is done.

It was the project that came from the batt I had made ages ago and then plied with three shades of blue merino.

 It's certainly on the wonky side but it's fun. You can't see it but it even has sparkle. I am anxious to swatch it to see what it would be good for. I'm thinking some fun mitts.

Here's the new grand total from this year's TdF and there is still more of almost all of this on all three wheels. I wish I could knit faster.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Warping Made Easy Part Two

 The next morning I made it to the point where I got to wind it all on all by myself. That is a big deal because normally you need two people but no one is ever around when you need them. With this method you separate the warp into bunches and then slowly wind and yank, wind and yank, and then wind and yank some more. I was terrified.

 I am happy to say that it all worked like a charm. It's all perfectly tied on with beautiful tension and ready for weaving.

 I just need to wait for my weft to show up in the mail. I'm out of the 8/2 cotton. As usual, I underestimated how much I needed.

 Let me acknowledge who made all this fun possible. There are tons of little tricks in this lesson that make things go very smoothly. I'm not so sure if it was without worry as the title promises but this technique works wonders with thin sticky cotton that needs to stay in a color pattern. I had the DVD running alongside me for two straight days and it was like someone was holding my hand the whole time.

 I also owe a lot of credit to my orange friend here. Sitting for hours at a loom is hard on the posterior but Mr. Bouncy sure helped.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Warping Made Easy Part One

My new warping DVD shows you how to thread the reed while it is sitting on a table rather than when it is on the loom. After my last threading disaster, this idea seemed like a good one.

Of course there were some obstacles to overcome. First I had to figure out how to prop up the reed. I used my napkin holder which worked fine for a while.

Then The Mister came up with these little clamps that have legs on them. They were brilliant. They are mine now.

 The reason for doing it this way is to keep all that sticky cotton from tangling. On the table you can spread it out and weight it down.

It worked perfectly......

...until I went to put it on the loom. I had tied my choke too far from the front beam and I ended up with an unholy mess in front of the reed. Threading the heddles was a nightmare but with The Mister's help I got the nasty tangles out and went to bed. By this time it was almost midnight and I was worn out. Weaving is hard work.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Off Season

 I started this autumnal cardigan last fall and when winter came I put it away. I'm weird like that. I can't work on projects that are distinctly seasonal when the season is over.

 Picking it back up has been a nightmare. It is a very simple pattern but I can't wrap my brain around it as you can see by all my pattern rewrites. Being cable challenged doesn't help. For the life of me I can't ever figure out which way they are supposed to go without a cheat sheet. Making it even worse is that I am trying to learn to cable without a cable needle at the same time.

I picked up a giant bag of this yarn from Knit Pick's orange and black sale last year and it's my first real go round with their signature WOTA worsted weight.  If I didn't have to keep ripping or dropping the cables back I would probably be enjoying it more because it's a very pretty color.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Of Course

You know I had to take off all that warp and rearrange it. It wasn't that hard.

I split up the red so that now I have a little on each end and a little in the middle. I also saved enough for a little stripe in the weft. Now I need to go rewatch my DVD to see how I proceed from here. From now on, it gets really scary.

 As for all the questions about those wraps per inch yesterday in the comments, here is the simple explanation:
If you get a lot of wraps per inch it just means you have a skinny yarn. Skinny yarns make nice socks and lace shawls but they can also make nice garments if you don't mind knitting something that will have lots of little stitches. I don't, so I will. Got that?